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Samoa won gold in both tough rugby tournaments, pushing PNG down to silver.

Photo/Pacific Games News Service/Charlie Ando Bitikolo

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Pacific Games 2023: Samoa take touch rugby double, Niue's netballers claim first win

Samoa's touch rugby team avenged their 2019 loss while Niue's netball team score first win in 20 years.

Vaimaila Leatinu'u
Aui'a Vaimaila Leatinu'u
Published
30 November 2023, 3:09pm
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Samoa came out on top against Papua New Guinea (PNG) in an intense match for both the men's and women's touch rugby.

Both games ended with a one-point difference of 8-7 in favour of Samoa who has now dethroned the defending PNG champions.

In the men's gold medal match, Samoa were behind 2-0 to PNG but by half-time they found their footing.

The second half saw Samoa and PNG score tries back and forth with Samoa scoring one last winning touchdown near the end of the match.

Midfielder Arran Rogers spoke to SKY TV and highlighted how this year's victory has avenged their loss against PNG in the previous Games' touch finals.

Midfield player Arran Rogers. Photo/SKY TV

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"Our main goal was to try and build through the tournament and get to that gold medal match against PNG again and take one over them," Rogers says.

"An unreal feeling. I think just the way we came together to win that gold medal is probably what means the most to me. How the boys came together for this tournament," he says.

Speaking to Pacific Games News Service (PGNS) Samoa's team captain Charlize Fleming despite an earlier loss to PNG, they saw it through for their motherland.

"We came here to play our hardest, and we lost to PNG in the round-robin," Fleming says.

"But we won today for the people of Samoa whom we present."

PNG team captain Angelena Watego is already thinking ahead with a new approach.

"We need to recruit more young players for the next Games," Watego says.

“I’m disappointed as we led in the first half of the game, but I think Samoa has a lot of young players."

Watch some video highlights of recent Pacific Games action:

Netball: Niue rises to the occasion

After two decades of absence from the Pacific Games, Niue's netballers picked up their first win on the court.

Despite suffering losses to Tonga and Cook Islands by wide margins, Niue remained resolute with a 59-28 victory against Vanuatu.

Niue beat Vanuatu to post their first ever Pacific Games netball victory. Photo/Pacific Games News Service/Paul Fefera

Speaking to Pacific Games News Service, Niue team manager Malama Rex Malagi praised the team for their history-making efforts.

"The girls were outstanding. They did what we asked to do and they did it with urgency and effort," Malagi says.

She says Niue have not played at the Pacific Games in 20 years and the team is "brand new".

"Our coach used to play in our world cup team 20 years ago, for the girls it’s their first.”

Malagi points out that their win against Vanuatu serves as a morale booster for the team as they take on Papua New Guinea today.

Day nine medal tally wrap

New Caledonia remain at the top with a total of 71 gold.

Tahiti have stolen the second spot from Australia adding eight golds for a total of 41.

Australia is now settled in third with 42 golds.

Day nine total medals earned wrap

New Caledonia lead with 161 total medals, followed by Tahiti in second with 128 then Australia at 70.

Other day nine results

Fiji have 64 medals total, while Samoa holds 63 with Tonga holding 17 followed by Cook Islands at 15 then finally Kiribati at 11.

New Zealand ended day eight with a total of 28 with eight gold, 10 silver and 10 bronze.

Keep up with us to keep up to date with this year's Pacific Games on our site: pmn.co.nz or through our socials: Instagram, TikTok and X (formerly known as Twitter).

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